2Pac’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 25, but he left one of the greatest bodies of work, with Diamond certified albums and hundreds of songs. His popularity has only continued to increase as the years go on, with 2Pac being recognized as one of the best rappers of all time. Here are the top 10 best 2Pac songs of all time.
10. Ambitionz Az A Ridah – All Eyez On Me (1996)
Regaining popularity in 2013 by being a focal point of the GTA V soundtrack, Ambitionz Az A Ridah was the first song that fans heard from 2Pac after being released from prison as it opens the Diamond certified double album, All Eyez On Me. Ambitionz Az A Ridah showcased a new aggressive side to 2Pac that the world had yet to seen, which included some of his best work, many of which are in this list.
9. Brenda’s Got A Baby – 2Pacalypse Now (1991)
Reaching at number 7 on the Billboard Hot Rap Song charts, Brenda’s Got A Baby was the hit song from 2Pac’s debut album 2Pacalypse Now, and details the struggles of a 12-year-old girl who fell pregnant, later turning to prostitution to make money. A song that hit home for many, with a subject that has been seen time and time again in poor communities across the world. Brenda unfortunately meets a gruesome end as she is murdered, leaving her young baby behind. According to the start of the music video, the song is based on a true story.
8. All Eyez On Me – All Eyez On Me (1996)
All eyes really were on 2Pac at the start of 1996 when he released the double album just months after being released from prison. All Eyez On Me was the first album the rapper released under Death Row Records and showed a more aggressive side of 2Pac and the album brought him his most success in term of album sales, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and eventually selling over 5 million copies earning Diamond status.
7. Hit ‘Em Up – Non-Album Single/Greatest Hits (1996/1998)
The gold standard by which all diss tracks are measured by. Hit ‘Em Up is a middle finger to the Notorious B.I.G, released at the height of their feud in the mid-90s before both were tragically murdered just months apart from each other. Taking shots at anyone associated with Biggie, Hit ‘Em Up is raw and you can feel every ounce of hatred that 2Pac has for the targets of his lyrics. Along with Ice Cube’s No Vaseline, this is how you diss someone.
6. I Ain’t Mad At Cha – All Eyez On Me (1996)
Rapping about how life has changed through the years since he found fame, I Ain’t Mad At Cha wasn’t actually released as a single in the US, but found success across the world, reaching number 2 in New Zealand and number 13 in the UK. The single was released just 2 days after his death, with the music video featuring 2Pac dying by a gunshot wound, which eerily reflects the real-life circumstances surrounding his death in September of 1996.
5. 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted – All Eyez On Me (1996)
As the opening line of the song states, ain’t nothing like a gangster party, and that is what you get when 2Pac and Snoop Dog are in the same room. The song was recorded for 2Pac’s double album “All Eyez On Me” while Snoop Dog was facing a murder charge, a charge he was later acquitted of. Along with Hail Mary, 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted was performed by Snoop Dog and a hologram of 2Pac at Coachella in 2012.
4. Hail Mary – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996)
Released under the alias Makaveli, Hail Mary is a dark and evil sounding song. Makaveli was the next phase of 2Pac, and the full album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, was recorded in just 3 days. While the track is a little rough around the edges, as you’d expect for a song from an album that took 72 hours to record, it has become one of 2Pac’s most iconic songs and was even used during the 2012 2Pac hologram performance at Coachella.
3. Changes – Greatest Hits (1998)
Released in 1998, 2 years after his death in 1996, Changes is a remix of a song that was recorded in 1992 and features reused lines from other previously unreleased songs such as I Wonder If Heaven’s Got A Ghetto. The song references the war on drugs, police brutality and the racism that black people in America face. Changes is perhaps the most recognized hip hop song of all time, universally loved regardless of age, sex, race, or religion. Changes is one of the best hip hop songs of all time and it is a shame that 2Pac never got to see the impact the song had on the world.
2. California Love – All Eyez On Me (1996)
A true party anthem, if you’re at a party and California Love comes and everyone in the running isn’t singing along and having a good time, you’re at the wrong party and leave immediately. This is a feel-good song if there ever was one. California Love is 2Pac and Dr Dre on top form and a song that is universally loved.
1. Dear Mama – Me Against The World (1995)
Dear Mama shows the softer side of 2Pac, a ballad in which he tells his mother that, despite their rocky relationship and issues they’ve both faced, he loves her and appreciates everything she has done for him. While many of us remember 2Pac for his more “gangsta rap” style that he adopted in his later albums on Death Row Records, he always had a softer side to him and it is hard not to love this song. Dear Mama is a perfect hip hop ballad and one that will stand the test of time and be remembered fondly by fans over 25 years later and the song is still as relevant today as it was in 1995.